ACNC External Conduct Standards - Update
April 2019 | News | Alex Milner and Seak-King Huang
In November 2018, Regulations under the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012 (Cth) were tabled in Parliament to introduce new ‘external conduct’ standards for registered charities operating directly or indirectly overseas.
This article examines when the new standards will most likely take effect, in the context of the Federal election that has been called this week.
*Update 2* Please note that the External Conduct Standards have now commenced.
*Update 1* Since this article was published in April, the Senate sitting calendar has changed to include extra sitting days in July. As a consequence, we now expect the External Conduct Standards to commence on the close of Senate business on 22 July, 2019.
We wrote about the standards when they were at public consultation stage last year. That article can be found here. We will be publishing further articles examining the new standards in detail and issues arising from them.
When will the new standards commence?
The new Regulations are known as the Australian Charities and Not‑for‑profits Commission Amendment (2018 Measures No.2) Regulations 2018 (Cth).
They will commence on the later of:
- 1 July 2019; and
- the expiry of the normal statutory period during which Parliament may disallow regulations - unless both Houses of the Parliament pass a resolution approving the Regulations, which appears unlikely to occur.
The standard disallowance processes for each House are as follows:
- within 15 sitting days after the Regulations are tabled (disallowance notice period), notice of motion to disallow the Regulations may be given in the relevant House; and
- if notice is given, then, unless the motion is withdrawn or rejected within a further 15 sitting days (disallowance motion period), the Regulations will be disallowed (Section 42, Legislation Act 2003 (Cth)).
The Regulations were tabled in the House of Representatives on 26 November 2018 and in the Senate on 27 November 2018. The disallowance notice period has now expired in the House of Representatives. The Senate has a different sitting calendar and a further four sitting days remain in the Senate’s disallowance notice period.
Impact of the Federal election
With the announcement on 11 April 2019 of the Federal election, the current Parliament has been ‘prorogued’ and the House of Representatives ‘dissolved’. The Parliament will not reconvene until after the election and, most likely, not until 12 August 2019*.
Assuming the current sitting calendar is maintained and Parliament does not reconvene before 12 August 2019*, the Regulations will not come into effect prior to that date, and; most likely, not until 15 August 2019*. This date could be further extended if a motion to disallow is moved in the Senate prior to then.
If you have any queries about the proposed new standards, please contact Seak-King Huang or Alex Milner. We are grateful for research by our colleagues Matthew Thorn and Emma Erwin in preparing this information.
*See update above